Speed run of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask with 100% item collection in 29 segments, completed on August 5 2005. Available in 3 versions: low, normal and high quality.
Special Thanks to:
Radix - For somehow managing to violate the laws of the internet and host all these runs with no fees
Nate - For capturing the run
TSA - For his Ikana Castle Sequence break, idea for Stone Tower sequence break, and various little tricks I picked up from his exploratory run. Most importantly, his work finally sparked some speedrun discussion for OOT's sorely overlooked sequel
pyh189 - For the improved Great Bay Temple route; also one of the first to discover the damage-boosting trick, among other things
StrangenessDSS - For the excellent Snowhead Temple Sequence Breaks & Goht/Gyorg strats
Now, where to begin? First, the definition of 100% completion for this game, along with my rationale in choosing a 4-Cycle-Strategy, is outlined in the MM 100% Discussion Topic: http://speeddemosarchive.com/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=consoles_newer;action=display;num=1118613852
For a Zelda speedrun, the route is always of utmost importance; for this run, it's much more so. Majora's Mask has an incredible amount of sidequests and optional tasks. With so many events, many of which depend upon one another, and some that can only be performed at certain times (more on the game's internal clock in a moment), the route really has a lot to account for. I spent about 3 weeks mapping everything out in a gigantic Excel document and playtesting it to fix all the problems, and even then, I still had a few hitches in the final product (nothing too serious, thankfully).
These problems arose from the game's internal clock, which really makes speedrunning frustrating. Even minor discrepancies in execution speed in the run can add up and make you too late (or, preferably, too early) for events. Alternatively, new time-saving tricks that are discovered & implemented midway through the run can screw up the time schedule. Unfortunately, I experienced both of these problems (see the discussion for segments 7 & 21 below for details).
Of course, the in-game clock isn't all bad. I've always been fascinated with just how much stuff one could theoretically accomplish in a single cycle; as this run shows, it's pretty astounding. In Cycle 2, I got 30+ Pieces of Heart and 13 Collectible Masks, in addition to completing the 4 Temple and collecting their fairy's' gifts (and this is by no means maximized efficientcy; for this run, a lot of quests had to be left for the last 2 cycles, just so that there would be stuff available to kill time between various time-constrained events).
Well, that should cover the basics. An awful lot of work went into this, so I hope its enjoyable.
If you have any questions or comments about this run, my AIM screenname is XDragornX.
1. A rather short and boring segment, mostly cut scenes. Very smooth overall, although the entering of the name at the beginning was a bit sloppy. Still, not really that big of a deal. (If I was really hardcore, I would've just entered my name as "A," But we have to draw the line somewhere.)
2. Not much to say about this segment. Very smooth, but still, the first cycle is rather boring. Just a couple of minor mistakes, such as jumping off the festival tower the wrong way. I reached the golden flower surprisingly quickly, though. I also think that running under the skull kid so that he drops the ocarina right on top of you is a neat trick.
3. This is where things start to get a bit more interesting. Another very smooth segment; the only real mistake was backwards-walking into the grotto near the end of the run; however, I did intend to visit this location eventually anyway, so I was able to get the rupees and deku stick from there then instead, with no harm done.
4. Very frustrating segment; the deku palace guards and flying-platform sequences are both great places for ruining runs. This was a very smooth segment overall, although I lost a few seconds from one of the dragonflies. It actually isn't necessary to kill them at all, but I felt like playing it safe. This segment is also one of two points in the run where I have to take a pictograph of something, to be used in a later segment. It's definitely nerve-wracking, since you don't find out if your pic is acceptable until it's too late to do anything about it...
5. Good segment overall. Neither of the completions of the swamp shooting game were perfect. It's not really that big of a deal. When the game is counting down your extra time for bonus points, it removes seconds from the timer slightly faster than a rate of one-timer-second per real-time-second. So getting two flawless completions of the game would be a minor improvement. I can't believe I had to waste time waiting for that stupid goron to get out of the way in the Inn... ugh. I thought my completion of the Deku Scrub Game was satisfactory, although I know that it can be done much faster. I admit that I didn't do too much research into this mini game, so I don't know how much difficulty and/or luck is involved in faster strats. I got a bit sloppy near the end of this segment, mainly with the back flipping up the ledges in the route to Mt. Village.
6. Good crossing of invisible platforms. Scaling the cliff w/o lens of truth is a nice touch, even if it doesn't affect overall time. The most impressive trick is hitting the correct urn on the chandelier in one try. It was a major pain to figure this out. And even then, given the amount of waiting time involved with my method, it can probably be done faster.
7. This segment is where I ran into my first major hiccup. Somehow, I managed to get about 2 hours ahead of my Test Run target time. Since two hours of downtime waiting for Sakon would be unacceptable, I needed a suitable filler task. The town shooting gallery, which, incidentally, takes about two hours, fit the bill very nicely. I had originally slated it for completion in cycle 3 though, so it's removal from there did cause some minor problems later on. Now, this was an excellent segment overall. I made 3 minor errors in Fortress's Heart Piece room, but that's really it (OK, I also lost a little time by accidentally donning the goron mask in clock town). My downtime waiting for Sakon to attack the Bomb Shop Woman was nice and low (although, it was still longer than usual, on account of the exceptional performance in the Fortress).
8. Holistically, a fine segment. Two minor mistakes in the temple (missed a fire arrow shot in the room with the snow enemies and a missed shot in second wizrobe battle). Goht, however, screwed me over. He managed to score a hit with his lightning when he was almost dead. This could have been a catastrophe, but, I was able to finish him off after he ran a lap around the arena. So, it wasn't too bad. Given that the rest of the temple went very well, I felt justified in keeping this segment.
9. The Spider House went fine. Remember, if my actions at some points seem a bit strange, it's because I don't have a sword. Good segment overall. Notable mistake was falling off the laundry pool ramp.
10. Goron Race went surprisingly well. Getting knocked into a tree wasn't as much of a setback as I would've expected.
11. The Zora Pot Game that I use for a quick 90-rupees is surprisingly overlooked. I'd say it's one of the fastest ways to earn money during the daylight hours. Once you can do it consistently, it's easy money. There isn't too much to say about the Beaver Races. They are a rather tedious affair... I only crashed into one ring though.
12. 2nd part of woodfall went very well. Biggest mistake was taking two attempts for the ledge jump in the 2nd-to-last room. Excellent Odolwa Battle. My method for getting the Castle Garden Heart Piece is notable. It would have been preferable to do this with the stone mask, but that wasn't an option. So, using two bomb jumps to bypass the guards is a surprisingly effective substitute. It only takes a few seconds longer than just running through the garden with the stone mask on (and it sure looks cooler). The Butler Race was all right. It's actually possible to cross last set of platforms w/o deactivating their flame rings, but I didn't want to risk it.
13. This is a very short segment, because its sandwiched between long ones, neither of which I wanted to make any longer. The Deku Scrub game was all right. Excellent Peahat Battle.
14. Using the song of double time at this point is necessary (because I'm entering the graves soon), and it also makes it tremendously easier to bomb-jump across the fences. Here, I use an improved version of the bomb-jumping trick--by facing the fences from the right angle, it's possible to "graze" the top of the fence as you pass over, landing on the other side w/o having to endure the several-second recovery period. The Keeta Battle was... Meh. Not terrible, but could have been better. Got hit twice, although only one of them was really my fault. First Iron Knuckle was perfect. The "stalagmite-jump" to get the Song of Storms on Night 2 is incredibly difficult to perform consistently. I almost never get it in one shot. I was pleasantly surprised. 2nd Iron Kunckle could have gone better. I didn't get hit, but he blocked several attacks during his second phase. Very aggravating. And finally... skipping the garos mask. The first two parts (the bomb jump and the side jump) are easy. Running across the thin ridge, however, is the moment of truth. I didn't fall. I was practically in shock. Sadly, the first really serious error of the run comes at the end of this segment--the hookshoting up the trees to reach the Owl Statue. The rest of the segment having gone so well, I admit to cracking under the pressure. This was pretty bad. When I rewatched this segment, I thought it was inexcusable; but actually, pyh189 made the same mistake in his 3:37 run, so maybe it isn't so devastating after all. Overall, this is a very difficult segment with many high precision tricks and two very difficult glitches, so I'm still quite satisfied with it.
15. Nothing too much to say here. The well strategy is pretty standard fare by now, although goron-rolling through the spikes near the end is a nice touch. Nothing too notable in Ikana Castle either. I used a little time-saver in the "spiders room," (you can reach the switch in the corner w/o the deku flower) and I think I used the most effective strategy for incorporating the sequence break along with collecting the outdoor heart piece. Boss Battle could have gone better.
16. My Swamp Spider House Strategy was centered on avoiding using the Sonata of Awakening on the sleeping Deku Scrub, since there is a very long and annoying cinema associated with that. Rolled into a freaking blue bubble on the way to Stone Tower--Argh.
17. Stone Tower Temple Part 1 went nicely. Good Garo Master Battle. Most interesting part is probably minor sequence break used in Eyegore Room. There is some luck involved with the sequence of quests out in Termina Field--mainly, whether you'll be able to pick up enough extra magic. I got enough. It takes six light arrows to kill the two dodongos (an alternative strat is to use bombs against them, but it's a bit slower and a lot more difficult).
18. Pinnacle Rock went very smoothly. 6/8 eels went down very quickly, the other two took an extra couple of seconds. Pirate's fortress was very good. Both sequence breaking tricks were executed quickly and correctly. The pirate battle was decent. The worst part of this segment (and probably the second really serious mistake of the run) is the fish gathering near the end. This just took a ridiculously long time. Granted, it is harder than it looks. I used Zora Link here because he is taller than regular link, and thus can stand in deep water where regular link would have to swim. So, theoretically, he should be able to catch fish in deeper water. Unfortunately, I think his height may also make him swipe too high, missing a lot of fish. So this is definitely an area for improvement. Also, even with that possible change, there is still a great deal of randomness involved with the fish's' movements, so I probably should have just put this at the beginning of the next segment anyway. Meh, still a great segment overall. (FYI, I have to bottle those fish around this time in the run, because they disappear after Gyorg is defeated. Strange.)
19. Very nice segment. Wart Battle was OK. Had some bad luck near the end, the last remaining bubble hit me and foiled my aim. I also lost a few seconds at one point by swimming into a wall, and I took 3 shots to hit the pot at the bottom of the giant, central room, and thus had to waste some time waiting for the next propeller to swing around. Other than that, everything was good. Gekko Battle was all right. Excellent Gyorg Battle.
20. Good execution on the sequence-breaking trick. Gomess went down without a hitch. Pretty Good Twinmold Battle. If this segment and the next seem a bit disjointed, it's because the end of cycle 2 is approaching, and all the remaining loose ends have to be tied up.
21. The deposition of these 3 fish is completely random (you only get the HP if the same fish eats all 3), so it definitely belongs at the beginning of a segment. Now, unfortunately, the Fisherman's game doesn't reopen until 7 PM. Getting there too early wasn't a problem during my test run, but, unfortunately, due to all the time saved by the improved Gyorg Battle and Stone Tower Route, I had way too much downtime, and thus had to play the inverted song of time twice... (which is still faster than just manually waiting for all that time to pass). This is why the internal clock sucks. For the fisherman's jumping game, its possible to jump directly from one torch platform to another, bypassing the central one (the bunny hood probably makes this a lot easier). So I'm sure this could be exploited for ridiculously high scores. But, you only 20 to get the HP, and you can't end it early, so whatever. Finally, this segment is the first instance of Rupee Gathering (harvesting rupees by shooting blue bubbles with light arrows out in east termina field). This process is greatly augmented by the bunny hood (obtained very early on in cycle 3), and the biggest problem is usually lack of magic (but thankfully, lots of later rupee gathering is done with the aid of chateua romani).
A note about cycles 3 and 4. Compared to Cycle 2, they are rather... anticlimactic. Mainly, they are both structured around the Anju/Kafei Sidequest. So there are a bunch of events that have to be done at certain times, and lesser quests and activities are used to kill time as necessary between these events. Just a fair warning.
22. I think it's fair to say that around the beginning of cycle 3, my overall play quality went downhill a bit. I became a lot more lenient about little mistakes and really just wanted to finish this damn thing. This is evidenced by my rolling straight into a wall right off the bat of this segment. Screwed up the input of the bet at the racetrack. Got first place at the track, which is pretty unusual. My strategy was designed for getting second-place, so I had to change things a little to factor in the extra 90 rupees. Rounding up the chicks for the bunny hood went surprisingly well. There's so much randomness there, and one chick usually manages to hide and foul everything up. Epona's game was all right, although the last balloon took too much time. The strat is still solid, though. Lost a few seconds for stupidly saying "no" to Romani. Gorman Race was fine.
23. I *hate* the treasure chest game. Incredibly, incredibly random. This one went beautifully, though. Bombchu Gallery also went very nicely. The listening to of the grandma story here was actually unnecessary. In my test run, I got to the Inn two hours later because of the town shooting gallery, and thus, listening to the grandma story put me in night 1 (so there was no need for the song of double time). In this case though, I had to use the song of double time after the story, so I should have skipped the story here entirely and gotten this HP later. Oh well. Lost some time (and also 2 rupees, although that's not really important) because I jumped the gun in the postman's game. Stupid. Swordsman's school game went fine.
24. As I mentioned earlier, the bunny hood really helps to streamline the rupee gathering process. The bubbles tend to respawn right as you're reaching them, so the whole thing goes nice and smoothly. I got to the ranch way too early (another adverse side effect of those missing two hours). If my movements there seem a bit erratic, it's just because I'm trying to kill downtime between shooting the aliens. There wasn't any real point to climbing up on top of the house.
25. Basket Bombing went fine. I had a bit of downtime while waiting for Kafei to get into position. Protecting the Milk Cart was a bit odd. I've never seen the bandits get so close and then ride along the side like that, near the end. Still, no danger of actually losing. Target shooting was decent.
26. This segment starts out with the slightly-tricky glitch for entering Sakon's Hideout. What's really nice, however, is doing it with him not even seeing you. That let's you skip not only the incredibly long cut scene of him entering the hideout himself, but also his little exclamation of innocence from noticing you. I lost a little time in the hideout by stepping on 3 red switches in one room. I also lost a little time with Dampe because I got too far away from him. Getting all 3 parts of the Big Poe to appear in the right dirt patches is a matter of luck, so this segment took a lot of restarts. I lost a little time during the poe battle because he freaking went inside the wall for one shot. So unjust. I guess it doesn't actually make a difference though, since I still had a considerable amount of down-time, waiting for the wedding to start.
27. Nothing too notable here. The Keaton Quiz is ideally placed near the segment beginning, because it's a very random affair. Had a minor equipment screen hiccup outside the milk bar. Fell off the stage in the milk bar, kinda stupid. Playing all that music in the Mlik Bar seems like a disproportionately large amount of work for a completely worthless mask... but I digress.
28. The Spirit House Game is very aggravating. Fighting the 2 middle ghosts together is incredibly random. There's also some randomness involved with the last one, where I had one wasted shot. Overall, the Ikana Secret Shrine was fine. Garo Master went down very smoothly. I used a new strat against Wart, incorporating the Great Fairy's Sword. He also went down very nicely. Wizarobe was all right, but I missed a shot. Lizalfos was very good. Four bosses for one piece of heart seems like overkill, but that's beside the point. Again, lots of downtime waiting for Kafei. Things are basically smooth from there. FYI, although it is possible to enter the sewer by back flipping over the bomber guy, you can't do that here; you won't get the notebook unless you give them the password first. Also note that it's preferably to wait in West Clock Town until midnight to avoid the very long and annoying "Midnight Cinema."
29. The 6 or so minutes of crap at the beginning of this segment are very annoying. Admittedly, I probably should have improved this. My main priority here was to complete the Goron Dungeon in one attempt, which I did. The Deku and Zora Dungeons were also both fine (although its not as if there's really anything to screw up in the Zora one). But the Link dungeon was rather poor. I got hit twice by the iron knuckle, and screwed up the first bombchu task. My equipment order also wasn't completely optimized. Finally, The Majora Battle was imperfect. Since it's probably not immeadiately obvious, it is necessary to adjust your position at the beginning of the battle so that you are more to Majora's side. If you hit him (her? it?) with the projectiles from Oni Link's sword right off that bat, he'll go flying back into the wall and you won't have any more clear shots for a while. The second phase of the battle is all luck. You have to get a lock on him, which can be difficult because he runs around so much, and you also have to worry about the other masks, which hit me twice in this case (argh!). The third phase is pretty simple once you've got the lock-on.